Sighing deeply, I put down the book I’ve been reading. The words seem to dissolve into a sea of meaningless letters, my vision blurring and my concentration waning. I don’t think I can really focus on anything, especially not in my current state. Today was… just so draining, even more so than usual. The glares of everyone around me—piercing, judging, condemning—those I can normally handle. I’ve become acclimatized to that. But an imperceptible change hung in the air today. Perhaps it was my imagination, but it was something beyond that with which I’ve grown all too familiar. It’s exhausting. For my own sake, I should have learned by now to ignore their mocking regards. But I can’t.
I take a deep breath to calm my nerves. Then another. And another. Perhaps I should… no. You know better than to even consider that. But after today? My will is beginning to crumble like a fortress under siege, its reserves depleting and its soldiers’ morale degrading. Yet I can’t. It’s been so long since the last time…
It… my arm… it itches. Like ants trying to escape their prison. Crying out for more. Begging for mercy. It would be so easy. The blade beckons.
As I return to my senses, I notice my heartrate has hastened. Its rhythmic pulses whisper in my ear, weakening my defenses and commanding me to capitulate to desire. The strength to resist the urge is fast fading.
I lift myself out of my chair and open a drawer. Ah, so much beauty contained in one place. To so many people, knives are utilitarian implements to be used for mundane household tasks, but to me, each one tells a story of the love and care put into crafting it. Now, which one…?
I settle on a relatively plain knife with a tapered end and a simple navy blue handle. Hand trembling, I unroll my sleeve to the familiar sight of red lines criss-crossing each other. Holding the knife in my right hand, I apply pressure to the tip of the blade as it pierces the skin, forming new lines and letting blood push its way out. The coldness of metal on skin is still a little jarring to me, despite not being a new sensation by any means. The stress seems to depart and slip out in wisps from each new cut in my arm, the sensation of searing pain of contact with the fresh air calming.
As I allow myself to get distracted by my thoughts, my grip slackens. The blade pushes in deeper than I’ve ever dared cut before. It—no. Nononononononono.
Red. Coming out like a fountain. Forming a puddle on the carpet. Forcing its way out as my heart beats.
This isn’t supposed to happen. No.
Beating. Pounding. Hyperventilating. I can’t keep my mind straight. It won’t listen to me. I need to live. A red flower on my arm.
I breathe in. I breathe out. I breathe in. I breathe out. This isn’t the time to panic. Or maybe it is…? It’s definitely not the time to puzzle through paradoxial statements, in any case. Help. Where can I get it? Blood is dripping everywhere, like paint splattered on a canvas. I’m alone. Would anyone get here in time? I don’t dare ask anyone I know… They’ve never even been to my house before. I can hardly imagine letting them know about… well, this.
My head is spinning. My senses are diluted, a pounding pain practically crushing my head. Even the short journey to my bathroom is hardly possible when every other step causes me to stumble, nearly losing my balance. Blood shoots in every direction imaginable, but right now the mess it’s making is the least of my concerns. Through an indistinct haze, I seem to recall that one should apply pressure if one hits an artery. I push down on my arm with all that I have in me.
A horrible thought runs through my mind. I could easily lose consciousness and never regain it. What if I die here? How long would it take for my body, slumped down and decaying, to be found? I can see it now…
“Yuri, are you there?” Monika might ask.
“Maybe she’s just really busy right now,” Sayori would reply.
Natsuki’s temper would be sharp as always. “The dummy… let’s just break the door down already.”
And eventually they would break down the door, then proceed to calling out my name as they walk through the various rooms. The blood would be dried and dark red already. I wonder, who would be the first one to discover my corpse…?
I expel this thought from my mind entirely. I’m not dying today. I refuse to. Every fiber in my body is opposed to the very concept. I run the faucet over the wound, allowing the soothing chill of cold water to flow over me. I shiver through my whole body, despite the room temperature not having changed in the slightest.
What’s this—? A sense of invigoration runs through me. It gives me strength, but at some instinctive level I know that it will not last. Inspecting the wound, the bleeding doesn’t appear to have stemmed in any way.
A fading sense of awareness. It all seems so distant. It doesn’t seem like it matters. It will pass. I will overcome this. This isn’t how I want to die. Yet there is a legitimate chance that this will be how my last breath is spent.
My arm is soaked in a thin layer of blood. The sight of it would be enough to make the average person faint, but all I feel is some sort of twisted enjoyment. The mortality of the human body, even if the body is mine, is intriguing. Watching the after effects firsthand is intoxicating.
Descending back into reality, I inspect the wound, whose bleeding looks to have subsided. My vision is crossing, looking more like spots of multicolored light rather than any distinct shapes. I blink hard to clear the effect. Has the bleeding—?
It seems that it has. I breathe a deep sigh of relief. I can hardly think of how it would be if this ended up being how I died, but what I suddenly remember jolts me back into the moment. Blood splatters are spread around everywhere, from my clothes to the sink to the carpets and the walls.
I sigh, more exasperatedly this time. This will take me a lot of time to clean up.